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Research by Students and Faculty Featured on ScienceNOW

Posted by Jenna Ray on Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012

Work by Jon Anderson, professor of statistics, Stephen Burks, associate professor of economics and management, Manjari Govada '12, Tricia Steffen '11, Chris Thorne '11, Vasileia Varvarigou, research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health, and Stefanos Kales, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, is currently receiving significant media attention—most notably from the journal of Science daily news website, ScienceNOW. The research came from Morris's long-running Truckers & Turnover Project.

The article, “Obesity is associated with the future risk of heavy truck crashes among newly recruited commercial drivers,” originally appeared in Accident Analysis & Prevention and was highlighted by ScienceNOW on October 26, 2012. Science is the world's leading journal of original scientific research, global news, and commentary. Both the journal and ScienceNOW are published and owned by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Since being featured in ScienceNOW, the article has been noted throughout the trucking industry trade press. The research was highlighted in Heavy Duty Trucking and Transport Topics and will be covered in the next issue of The Trucker. Trucks at Work, a blog by Sean Kilcarr of Fleet Owner, also mentioned the ScienceNOW article. Burks, organizer of the Truckers & Turnover Project, was featured in a story by Minnesota Public Radio health reporter Lorna Benson on November 20. He joined physician Dr. Ira Briete as a featured guest on Sirius Satellite Radio’s Doctor Radio on November 19.

The attention gained by the work as a result of the ScienceNOW mention is significant to Anderson and Burks for a number of reasons, one of which is the fact that the research featured was done, in part, by students. Undergraduate research is a trademark of the Morris experience, as 57 percent of Morris students have participated in undergraduate research or creative production at the time of graduation.

The Truckers & Turnover Project is a multi-year study in the field of "behavioral personnel economics" conducted by a team of Morris faculty and students as well as faculty at other institutions, in cooperation with a large motor carrier. The project implements the idea that economists who do behavioral economic field experiments should work together with industry studies specialists.